iOS 4.2 Features

For iPad owners the most important news from Apple’s Music event on Wednesday is that Apple will be releasing iOS 4.2 in November. You might remember that back at the iPhone 4 launch, when Steve Jobs was reviewing all of the new features in iPhone 4 such as multitasking and folders, he said that those features were coming to the iPad later in the year. We now know later in the year means November.

If you are interested to learn more about what iOS 4.2 will add to the iPad, you can now find a summary page about it on Apple’s web site. For me the most important feature will be multitasking. Earlier this week I was writing blog posts for this site on my iPad, switching between Evernote and Safari. Switching between apps on the iPad is cumbersome, you have to hit the home button then tap the icon of the app you want to run next. The process is also risky. Normally when you switch out of Evernote with a note open, Evernote saves the state of that note so that when you come back to Evernote you are right where you left off. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that there is the possibility of losing what you write if Evernote did not have the chance to save the state of the note. In my case I lost about twenty minutes of work, simply by not living up to the mantra of “save early and often.” Multitasking ought to eliminate the risk of losing information like happened to me.

AirPlay is a feature that will be included in iOS 4.2 that is not already on the iPhone 4. It is designed to work with the Apple TV that was announced on Wednesday by enabling you to stream videos, music, and photos on the iPad to the Apple TV for display on a television. AirPlay also supports streaming music to speakers and audio devices that support the capability, such as one that iHome has announced to be available this coming Christmas. One use case is watching a video on your iPad while traveling that you don’t finish watching. When you get home, rather than continuing to watch the video on the iPad you can stream it to your TV.

When Apple releases iOS 4.2 it will unify the operating system across the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad products. Hopefully going forward new features will be available across all the devices at the same time. The best news is that the upgrade to iOS 4.2 will be free, and honestly I think adding multitasking to the iPad will nearly make it a new device.